In the era of #MeToo, Proud Mary starring Taraji P. Henson is timely. It pays homage to “Blaxploitation” films of the 1970s, in which African Americans starred in movie genres that Caucasians previously dominated. It was unprecedented for a black woman to step into the role of badass fighting for vigilante justice usually reserved for white dudes. In 1974, Foxy Brown, portrayed by Pam Grier, did just that. The way she exacted revenge on her rapist may be exploitative but speaks so much to black women’s struggle for empowerment at the time.
While initially controversial and perceived as a negative portrayal of African American life, feminists have ultimately Pam Grier’s movies and many Blaxploitation films. Over 40 years later, it’s amazing to have Taraji B. Henson as a major movie star with big box office influence championing empowered African American women of today. We could use a lot more women like her in Hollywood on screens big and small.
Proud Mary as a vehicle for Taraji will like have her fans cheering as the vigilante assassin caught up in a gang war, fighting for her own brand of justice and vengeance. Unfortunately, the film falls short in the execution, according to critics. They agree that, for instance, the lighting is terrible, begging the question of whether Hollywood cinematographers know how to light black skin effectively. In addition, they agree that the performances are lackluster and the score seems out of place. It would have been so cool for this movie to be a technical masterpiece worthy of the industry’s highest accolades. It isn’t, but audiences will probably go see it anyway.
What are your weekend movie plans? Share it in the comments section!